Virtalis has signed a contract with Thales Australia who, along with prime contractor, Boeing Defence Australia, will deliver the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) to the Australian Defence Force.
The next generation of Australia’s Army and Navy helicopter pilots and aircrew will be trained using a combination of helicopters, Thales Full-Flight Simulators and a suite of other synthetic training devices.
Thales chose Virtalis because it was seeking a Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) device that matched its voice marshalling and gunnery training simulator requirements closely and found it in Virtalis’ Helicopter Crew Reality (HCR) product. Peter Newnham, Thales Australia’s Simulation Engineering Manager, explained, “We worked with Boeing to take the Commonwealth training requirements, allocate training competencies to different training devices and then to develop specific device requirements specifications.”
HCR provides helicopter crew with a Virtual Reality (VR) training environment in which to develop skills in team-wide communication during complex training missions. HCR was originally developed over a decade ago for Britain’s Royal Air Force and the latest version is now also used by the British Army and Navy.
Michael Otero, Thales Australia’s Programme Manager for HATS commented, “Thales is well known for its use of simulators in the delivery of high quality training. As such, we will deliver an innovative and cost effective suite of devices that meet the HATS synthetic training requirements. We’ll be working closely with Virtalis to customise their HCR product for the required HATS training capability, including developing an Australian visual landscape.”
Delivery of the Virtalis system will be in 2017 and the whole HATS programme will be complete in 2019. Thales has four other simulator suppliers based in France, UK, and the USA. The simulators will be installed at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales.